Democratic Party advisor Sohn Hak-kyu on Monday turned down the party’s request to run in the Oct. 30 by-election against Saenuri Party heavyweight Suh Chung-won.
With the ruling Saenuri Party nominating former chairman Suh for Gyeonggi Province’s Hwaseong A constituency, Sohn was widely considered to be the DP’s only viable choice. Suh is a long-time associate of President Park Geun-hye who once served as the chairman of the defunct Grand National Party while serving five terms in parliament.
DP chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil had requested Sohn to take the party’s nomination on two separate occasions, while 35 first-term DP lawmakers issued a statement urging Sohn to take the offer.
“I have come to the conclusion that it is time for self-reflection as a person who has responsibility in losing the presidential election,” Sohn said in a statement. He added that Oh Il-yong, chief of DP’s committee for the constituency, should be nominated and that he would give his support.
Although Oh was the only candidate up for the party nomination for the constituency, the DP had postponed nominating him in the hopes that Sohn would run.
Meanwhile, the main opposition has chosen the chief of its North Gyeongsang Province office Heo Dae-man to run against former minister of public administration Park Myung-jae in Pohang Nam-gu-Ulleung-gun.
The constituency in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province has been held by conservative lawmakers since it was created in the mid 1990s. Former President Lee Myung-bak’s elder brother Lee Sang-deuk held the constituency for four consecutive terms from 1996 to 2012.
The seat was then taken by former Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Hyung-tae in last year’s general elections. Kim, however, left the party over allegations of sexual assault and later was deprived of his parliamentary seat for violating the Public Official Election Act.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com